Chapter 1: Days of the Shadow Dweller
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Talk” Valyrian dialects
3rd Person Pov
Four Years Later- Meereen
The now 10-and-5 year old Prince Jaehaerys Targaryen more commonly known as Jon was having a good fight. The fighting pits of Meereen especially the shadier ones fought to the death and did not care how that death was earned. While Jon didn’t like death he had gotten to accept it as an inevitable part of life and era that he lived in.
At his side Gendry would slice and crush men with a strange weapon that had a battle axe on one side and a hammer on the other. They easily destroyed the competition despite them being young boys, and the fact that many thought that they were children. In the stands Prince Oberyn was calling out his mistakes, while his bastard daughters cheered the two on. Jon would laugh at Oberyn’s comments and that would intimidate the other competitors more. They were worried about the mad child warrior and his master not knowing that they’re description was completely wrong.
The two finally defeat the last competitor and are met with boos and cheers. The cheers mostly come from Oberyn and his brood who howl like wolves rather than snakes, and of course the odd Westerosi. They decided that they would make their way back to a manse of Viserys I younger brother Daeron. The Sand Snakes congratulated Jon and Gendry on their win, and expressed a want to show that women can be just as good as men in the pits. They made small talk on their way back towards Jon’s manse. Well until they heard a roar among the crowd speaking High Valyrian or Ghiscari.
“Targaryen!” Jon froze upon hearing his family name. No one really knew who this Westerosi boy was and it was worrisome that someone did.
Jon then turned to find a large man wearing the armor of the Golden Company. He had thrown a whore down onto the ground and she was obviously hurt. However the man was a huge hulking figure that blocked his view. He was had a giant War hammer and as he threw off his helm with the horns of a stag Jon saw Gendry. Of course it was not Gendry as this man was bigger, angrier than, and not as sober, as the bastard. This was his father whom had started the Rebellion over Jon’s mother, Robert Baratheon.
“Robert Baratheon the man who started the Rebellion, why am I not surprised that a whoremonger like you is here fucking slaves?”
“You bastard born of the rape of beloved-”
“Beloved? In what way can a woman you only met twice and barely knew be your beloved?”
“Shut up bastard born of rape!-”
“You really still believe that? That my mother was a perfect lady willing to sit quietly and sew while you went to whore? And begot bastards across the realms? My mother was a fighter. My mother was the ever mysterious Knight of the Laughing Tree. She left her family for Rhaegar, and yes my father should have known better. However everyone underestimated your delusions and my grandfather’s madness. You want to blame then do it, but I will stand for being called a bastard born of rape when I know that my mother is the only parent that was truly there for me. She would still be here if I wasn’t born, and I blame myself enough every single day.” There is a crowd beginning to form.
“Wrong! Do you not see my companion? He looks like you because he’s your bastard. My mother would have gelded you if she was forced to be your whore.”
The man charges towards the Targaryen prince. He spins out of the way as Gendry pushes his father back from the crowd. Jon stabs the former lord in the knee, and the man crumples. Then Jon slashes his throat before the man can fight back. The Meereenese grumble about the short fight and as they begin to leave about 5 men from the Golden Company surround the Westerosi group.
“Halt! What gives you the right to kill a member of the Golden Company?” A man says but Jaehaerys can see that this comrade of the Baratheon held no love for him.
“Baratheon threatened not only my life but those of my uncle, cousins, and friend. My friend Gendry is his bastard. We only did what was necessary to protect ourselves from the man’s drunken anger.” Jaehaerys adds the drunken part because he thought it would sound better for his cause.
“Does everyone corroborate this story?” Those that speak Common answer that yes that is roughly what happened. However, most of those here speak Valyrian or Ghiscari.
“That man, Robert Baratheon, threatened not only my life but those of my uncle, cousins, and friend. My friend Gendry is his bastard. We only did what was necessary to protect ourselves from the man’s drunken anger.” Jon repeats his story in High Valyrian then he does it in Ghiscari. “That man, Robert Baratheon, threatened not only my life but those of my uncle, cousins, and friend. My friend Gendry is his bastard. We only did what was necessary to protect ourselves from the man’s drunken anger.”
One by one the people agree with the men of the Golden Company. They leave after they give their accounts. The men of the Golden Company seem slightly disgusted by their comrade but obviously they are not surprised. Then one of them asks.
“Where are you headed?”
“To my manse, do you wish to come along to continue or negotiations in private?”
“What about our comrade’s body? What will you do to it due to his crimes?”
“Nothing, mutilating a body is illogical and unnecessary. I will send it back to his brothers after he’s cremated. He is a distant cousin of mine despite his hatred of myself and my family.”
“Alright,” the man turned to the owner of the whore house and asked. “Do you have a cart and that we can load him into?”
He nodded and got some young servant boys to help out with the loading of the Baratheon’s body. Once the cart is loaded one of the younger men of the Golden Company is told to pull it. Jon leads the men through the city to an understated but fine manse that was of a relatively large size. Jon has the servants take the cart and fetch someone of the Seven to get the body ready for transport. He then led the leaders of the group towards a room that overlooked a large pond with various species of fish in it. It was a nice shaded pavilion and the servants gave all of those at the table cold ale. The men seem perturbed about drinking the beverage.
“I haven’t poisoned it neither has my uncle. I hate poison; I would rather kill a man with my own bare hands than watch him choke to death like my only motherly figure Queen Rhaella. Please drink, if I wanted you dead I would have killed you already.” They drink hesitantly but gratefully. “Now I doubt I’ll get off scot free that would be too optimistic. I’m assuming by your fidgeting that you want something from me. I can grant some things but I’m not exactly the most beloved of the royal family so please don’t ask for the amnesty of the Golden Company.”
“No, we were loyal to man called Darion Reyne, and his wife Elēni Raqagon. We just want their daughter Ailia to be safe. She has grown up with us, and now that she’s a woman men are lusting after her and her name. We can’t protect her for forever.”
“I see, there is one way that I could do that, but I doubt she would like it. I’m guessing she’s a warrior woman?”
“Yes, and we know that way. She knows about it as well, and she reserves the right to determine if you are a good fit or not.”
“Of course, unhappy and forced marriages end up miserable for all parties unless one of those parties revels in pain. Look at my father and step mother they are miserable.”
“Do you think you could protect her from the Lannister’s?”
“I believe I can, my step-mother Cersei believes herself to be smarter than she actually is and that usually ruins her. Tywin despite being a scheming bastard won’t anger any of the royal family if he wants to keep his position. The Kingslayer is stronger of body than of mind, and the dwarf is a close friend of mine and is not close with his family. The extended family moves on Tywin’s command so they won’t do anything stupid.”
“You don’t live with the Queen do you?”
“No, I live in Summerhall. I am relatively secure as I have allies in the Dornish people, and I have no doubt that returning Robert’s ashes will grant me some favor with them. Those of the Reach are too busy trying to get the lions out of power to worry about her. They would probably like her because they could try to use her to get Castamere. Not that I would let that happen, those roses should stay in their gardens before they are cut back.”
“I see,” he turned to one of the men and ordered. “Go and get Lady Ailia.”
The man nodded and ran off. Oberyn made small talk with the men and Jon asking all of them about what the Golden Company was like and comparing it to their own travels.
The man returned with a hooded woman. She took off her cloak and revealed quite the beauty. She had light brown almost blonde hair with some silvery strands threading through her rather complicated braids. She had on trousers with a thin slightly transparent over skirt and deep red shirt under a boiled leather jerkin. She wore sandals and had a dagger on her thigh and a sword at her hip. Due to her warrior training her violet eyes took in her surroundings with vigor before settling on to him.
“Lady Ailia, please sit.” Jaehaerys gestured to an open chair. “Would you like anything to drink or eat?”
“I am not some wilting flower in the sun.”
“It’s just courtesy my lady. I offered it to the men as well. I think no less of you. I was raised by women, and most of the men I know are idiots. I did not mean to offend.”
“You’re a mouthy little shit.”
“You can blame that on my upbringing. It seems that you must talk miles around idiots to get them to shut up, but I will tone it down. May I ask your age?”
“Only if you say yours.”
“I am 10-and-5 and you?”
“I am 10-and-7 and an accomplished warrior, and you are the same for someone so young.”
“Yes well it felt better to be focusing on something than wallowing in my self-pity and loneliness. It gladdens me to know that I spent that time wisely.”
“You did, I saw one of your fights. I’m surprised you didn’t fight nobly.”
“If I fought nobly in anything I would be dead at this point. You can have honor but too much will kill you. Is it alright if I asked to spar with you?”
“I’m surprised you would ask such a thing. Most men are horrified, but I think it would be fun to fight against a man that the masters call Aegon the Conqueror reborn.” Jon was genuinely shocked at that statement and blinked owlishly at the woman. “You… don’t get compliments like that often do you?”
“Outside of those that I consider family I only get ridicule my lady.”
“Most men love to be flattered by pretty girls.”
“Most men weren’t told to go to the deepest pit in the seven hells by a beautiful, and I say that meaning in body, woman.”
“Was that your Lannister mother?”
“Yes and my dear sister joined in.”
“Do you hate your family?” Jon seemed to ponder this for a second.
“That is a loaded question, but I can say not everyone. My mother and her family are what I believe a family should be, and I am close with them. I was also close to my grandmother before she died and I am still close with her daughter, my aunt Daenerys. I cannot say the same about my uncle, and my siblings and I are estranged. Rhaenys blames me for her mother’s death. I can understand her logic or lack thereof, but her hatred of me at this point is more tiring than anything.”
“What of your father the king?”
“I don’t hate him, I’m just disappointed. Everyone put high hopes on him and he could have fulfilled it but he instead chooses to focus on a prophecy and tear the realm apart. He is a better king than his father, but he is not like Jaehaerys the first. He is a relatively good father to my elder siblings, he gives them anything they want, but he ignores me and the Lannister children. Thought ignoring my younger sibling is more due to Cersei than anything else. She will not have her children punished.”
“That sounds like he is in a precarious spot.”
“Yes it’s quite the balancing act.”
“You have a Lannister friend.”
“Yes, I do and his name is Tyrion. He is universally japed at by the entirety of court just because he’s a dwarf. However, he is much more intelligent than his father, but follows morals and has honor. He will not be kind if you mock him, and he can mock you in a way that it seems like a compliment. However he is a very loyal person to those that he respects and cherishes. It’s such a waste that people cannot see beyond the outside.”
“You think I would like him?”
“I don’t claim that my lady, but anyone that is not afraid to be different in court likes him. He is also rather estranged with his family except for the Kingslayer.”
“What of the Kingslayer? What is he like?”
“He’s not the smartest man, and if Tywin believes that his golden son would be a good lord he’s deluding himself. That seems to be Tywin’s only weakness, not being able to accept that his dwarf son would be much better as Lord of Casterly Rock.”
“I must ask if we were to marry what would be your expectations of me as your wife?”
“That all of children are mine and that you don’t lie to me. I will not force you to do anything you would not like and I won’t lie to you unless I absolutely have to. Though even then I will probably give you hints so that you can figure it out on your own unless you would die because of it.”
“That’s fair, but I also want to know that if you have any bastards you tell me immediately. I will not be some ignorant little wife like you have.”
“I wouldn’t want you to be. Those women are absolutely boring and have no personality. May I ask, if it is not too personal, what gods you keep?”
“I have not decided. While I should follow my father’s gods they are rather restricting on women. I do not like it.”
“I can understand that. The Faith has always been hypocritical and ridiculously strict in my eyes. I keep the Old Gods. I find it to be much better to be with gods whose followers don’t enforce strange rules upon you.”
“I see, would you ask me to join in your faith?”
“No, but if you wish, you are absolutely welcome to. I will not hinder you in your pursuits.”
“Not even of lovers?” She asked wryly.
“I was raised by Dornish my lady. I have no problems with someone having a paramour.” Jon told her with a smile on his lips.
“What do you think of warrior women?” She says seriously staring into Jon’s eyes trying to read his emotions.
“I respect them immensely. I grew up surrounded by powerful women, and my mother was good with a sword and on horseback despite her father’s attempts to make her a lady.”
“I thought she was supposed to be some delicate lady. That’s what Baratheon would rave about to anyone that would listen.”
“Well that man lived on delusions. If he had known that my mother
truly hadn’t loved him it would have shattered him completely. I believe
everyone can have something like that some just grow out of it, that’s
what childhood; innocent and lovely delusions.”
insightful into his character for a man you’ve never met.”
“Yes, but I was ridiculed and hated because of the Rebellion he partially started and I would think of what could drive a man to start a war over a woman he only met twice if he was lucky. That was the only reason I could come up with. You see the Targaryen madness affects all of us with that blood in some way. My grandfather was actually mad, Roberts father Steffon trusted that man. Robert gave in to delusions, and his younger brother Renly does something similar thinking that he can live with his lover for little while. Stannis is too grim but men of my family are known to be melancholic. Gods know my father and I seem to share that curse, though I grew out of mine my father went mad over a prophecy and tore the realm asunder.”
“You seem much too happy to be melancholic.”
“I was as a child. I did not have an ally in anyone except for my aunt who had to obey her brothers. It was especially bad after my grandmother died. I didn’t eat for over a week afterwards. However, I’ve made friends and gotten genuine familial support, and left the Red Keep. The songs lie my lady, it smells of death, shit, and rot and every day you have wonder what is the next scheme one family will come up with to outdo the other. It’s oppressive in its perilousness.”
“I trust that you would not throw me into that without warning.”
“No, that would only get you killed and I’ve seen enough death caused by that damned game of thrones and I will prevent as much death as I can.”
“I believe I will accept your proposal Prince Jaehaerys.”